Exhibitions

Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion

Images

Eric Lebofsky, The Inarticulator, 2009. Ink and colored pencil on paper; 10 × 10 in. (25.4 × 25.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
Kai Althoff, Bekehrung, 2002. Paint, paper, watercolor, and varnish on canvas; 19 5/8 × 27 ½ x 3 1/8 in. (49.9 × 69.9 × 7.9 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Dean Valentine and Amy Adelson, Los Angeles, 2006.29. © 2002 Kai Althoff
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
on Baum, The Babies of della Robbia, 1965. Plastic dolls, nylon, paint, wood, cloth, and paper; 29 5/8 × 46 ½ x 9 5/16 in. (75.2 × 118.1 × 23.7 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Joseph and Jory Shapiro, 1992.51
Photo © MCA Chicago
Wangechi Mutu, Tiny Split Character, 2003. Ink, collage, and contact paper on Mylar; framed: 41 × 29 in. (104.1 × 73.7 cm). Collection of Linda and Paul Gotskind, courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
Paul Nudd, Dr. Sourmoles, 2010. Ink, watercolor, colored pencil, gouache, acrylic, and graphite on paper; 89 × 42 in. (226.1 × 106.7 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Western Exhibitions, Chicago
Rachel Niffenegger, Flesh Eye in Entrail Mist, 2010. Watercolor, acrylic, gouache, and spray paint on paper; 43 ½ x 30 in. (110.5 × 76.2 cm), Framed: 48 × 34 in. (121.9 × 86.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Western Exhibitions, Chicago
Karl Wirsum, Pardon My Spurious Saddle Light, 1977. Acrylic on cardboard; 29 × 23 in. (73.7 × 58.4 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of the Broido Family Collection, 2004.15. © 1977 Karl Wirsum
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Eric Lebofsky, Dataman/Datawoman, 2009. Ink and colored pencil on paper; 10 × 10 in. (25.4 × 25.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
Eric Lebofsky, Anxiety Man or Anxiety Woman, 2009. Ink and colored pencil on paper; 10 × 10 in. (25.4 × 25.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
Kay Rosen, Inez Has One Nose, 1996. Pencil on paper; 16 ½ x 10 ¾ in. (41.9 × 27.3 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co
Jeff Koons, Pink Panther, 1988. Porcelain; 41 × 20 ½ x 19 in. (104.1 × 52.1 × 48.3 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gerald S. Elliott Collection, 1995.57
Photo © MCA Chicago

About

Further solidifying Jim Nutt’s stature as an internationally significant artist, Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character provides an excellent opportunity to expand the artistic framework in which to consider his work beyond Chicago’s Hairy Who. While Coming Into Character offers a focused look at Nutt’s portrait busts of the last 20 years, revealing precedents in Nutt’s early works, this companion exhibition takes a much broader approach, delving into the rich and varied visual and cultural universe that has informed Nutt’s work and that of his peers. The exhibition also includes work by a younger generation of artists, such as Carroll Dunham, Mike Kelley, Eric Lebofsky, and Sue Williams, who have been directly inspired by Nutt.

Based on the MCA Collection, and augmented with loans from private collections, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking includes work by more than 50 contemporary artists that resonates—either formally or through its subject matter—with aspects of Nutt’s work. The exhibition is organized into four thematic sections that examine how artists look to comics, folk art, and non-Western art as source material; representations of surrealist psycho-sexual dramas; the traditional portrait bust genre; and an architectural approach to materials that oscillates between 2D drawings and 3D forms.

Nutt’s voracious appetite for art history, surrealism, non-Western artifacts, baroque opera, new wave cinema, and comics provides the inspiration for the exhibition’s dense hanging. The result is a visual encyclopedia that suggests sources beyond contemporary art to show how artists today use all manner of visual and cultural material for inspiration, and in dialogue with other forms, to create their own dynamic visual language.

Artists represented in the exhibition include: Tomma Abts, Francis Bacon, Enrico Baj, Don Baum, Hans Bellmer, Phyllis Bramson, Victor Brauner, Chuck Close, George Condo, William Copley, Aaron Curry, Dominick Di Meo, Carroll Dunham, Oyvind Fahlstrom, James Falconer, Tony Fitzpatrick, John Graham, Art Green, Leon Golub, Theodore Halkin, Miyoko Ito, Rashid Johnson, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Wifredo Lam, Eric Lebofsky, Richard Lindner, Robert Lostutter, Jim Lutes, Rene Magritte, Margherita Manzelli, Kerry James Marshall, Matta, Wangechi Mutu, Bruce Nauman, Rachel Niffenegger, Gladys Nilsson, Paul Nudd, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Lari Pittman, Christina Ramberg, Martin Ramirez, Richard Rezac, Suellen Rocca, Kay Rosen, Peter Saul, Cindy Sherman, Diane Simpson, Steven Urry, Chris Ware, Andy Warhol, H. C. Westermann, Karl Wirsum, Frances Whitehead, Sue Williams, Scottie Wilson, Joseph Yoakum, Ray Yoshida, and Claire Zeisler.

The exhibition is curated by Julie Rodrigues Widholm, MCA Pamela Alper Associate Curator.

Installation images

Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, MCA Chicago, Jan 29–May 29, 2011
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Funding

Official Airline of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago